Especially suitable for children aged 8+ (although they should always remain under adult supervision), we let our 7 year old join in only as long as I was right with him. Inside the box is an array of chemicals, equipment, paper and card and the very clear illustrated instructions, as well as essential (and comfortable) safety goggles.
One of the things I particularly like is that the science behind each of the experiments is explained in clear English. It's National Science Week and we live in a world where proven scientific fact can be wiped from view at the wish of one man. Children need to learn how to understand the world for themselves and work out answers. Knowing how and why things happen, or don't, are skills for life.
There are 12 experiments in total and we tested the Erupting Underwater Volcano first. We like volcanoes a lot, they're a regular feature, but we've never had an underwater one before...
It worked incredibly well! We all loved it. Each volcano full of fizzy pop will create about 5 volcano eruptions before it is expended. You need a really quite large tub of water to put it in - we had a tall Kilner style jar which just fit. It works by releasing the Carbon Dioxide and looks very pretty. Next time we're trying lemonade and red food colouring...
Our second experiment was a very simple bit of paper-folding to make a Paper Banger. John Adams supply a piece of paper with the lines drawn on, but of course once you have the skills, you can make it from any paper. An old trick my Great-Grandfather used to enthrall us with - and satisfyingly loud if you do it fast enough!
Next we chose the Exploding Lunch Bag. Much like the volcano - and I was delighted that my boys realised this - the Exploding Lunch Bag uses sudden release of Carbon Dioxide to cause rapid expansion... so rapid in fact that this is an outdoor only experiment.
Our first attempt didn't work because we hadn't sealed the bag right to the corners. You tape around the edges of the bag for strength, and have to seal the top tightly, but very quickly. It makes it all very exciting - protective glasses MUST BE WORN for this one.
Lastly we tried to make visible electricity using the Indoor Lightning experiment. The best advice is to try this on a day when the air is dry. Sadly this is March in Manchester and despite some sunshine and dry weather this week, we haven't yet been successful.
This experiment creates static electricity, in much the same way as you do when you rub a balloon on someone's hair. When we do make it work, I'll edit the photos into this post because my 8 year old's grin will be awesome...
The other experiments in this set are a mix of indoor and outdoor and require only items you'd usually have around the house:
Film Canister Rocket (outdoor)
Jet Engine Balloon Screamer (indoor or outdoor)
Bike Pump Rocket Ship (outdoor)
Confetti Shower Explosion (outdoor)
Water Bomb (outdoor)
Rock Salt Depth Charge (outdoor)
Mad Fizzing Potions 1 and 2 (indoor)
We think it's a great set and the rockets are the next items on my youngest son's wishlist. We've had tons of fun doing these experiments together and I've really enjoyed seeing the big grins when the experiment works well.
Failure is something a real scientist accepts as result rather than a bad thing. I was really pleased that my boys worked out why their experiments had failed and tried to make it work next time. They are clearly maturing and watching the logic click into place was a real 'proud Mum' moment.
The John Adams Booms, Bangs And Fizzes Science Set is suitable for age 8+ with adult supervision, safety goggles and don't wear your best clothes. The rrp is a fair £25 and it is available from all good toy shops instore or online, including Amazon where it is currently discounted to £19.99.
We were sent our set for review.